No you didn’t read the title wrong and it’s not click bait. The Toronto Maple Leafs 2019-20 playoff hopes are in jeopardy and it’s only July.
That may seem odd or something out of the twilight zone to many Leafs fans. Unfortunately this is the absolute truth and future they face.
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The window of opportunity is extremely small in the league. In the Eastern Conference it’s even smaller. Which is crazy to think about.
Last year the Maple Leafs came within a win away from moving on against the eventual Eastern Conference Champions. Some people thought if Babcock played some key players more they would have done it.
Move along to this year. It’s only July but Mitch Marner isn’t signed, Kadri was moved and Jake Gardiner is gone. The Leafs picked up Tyson Barrie which is good and fills a hole in the back end, but doesn’t dramatically improve the team.
Eastern Conference Situation
The Eastern Conference situation for the Leafs looks dim. There is hope though, if they can sign Mitch Marner. Unfortunately the salary cap may damage those chances and expose different holes in the lineup if he is signed.
With Mitch Marner looking to get more than the $10.5 million AAV available in cap space, that makes life difficult. Also with a wild card Nylander in the lineup and a traded Kadri they don’t seem to have improved. They could have possibly gotten worse.
This spells trouble for the Leafs and if the window is small and teams on parity it could make life extremely difficult for the Maple Leafs playoff odds.
This is how the Leafs not making the playoffs looks.
The Eastern Conference has lots of parity and more teams have improved than gotten worse. New Jersey for example, they signed Gusev and traded for Subban. They will most likely get Hall and have Hughes. That means they are going to make the playoffs.
Next is the Florida Panthers. The only thing they were missing last season was goaltending and now they have it. The Panthers acquired Bobrovsky and they will be a playoff contender.
So those are 2 teams that will take a spot. The Leafs have a few chances though but it’s wild card at the best. You have the New York Islanders that shaved 100+ goals against last year from the previous year. They lost Lehner but will still do good because of Trotz style of coaching.
The next is Carolina Hurricanes. They look like they could do good but that’s a complete wildcard team.
Also if you consider the determination of the Montreal Canadiens your back is in a corner. The Canadiens are looking to make the playoffs. This may just be the team to eliminate the Leafs from a wild card. If Carey Price stays healthy and they make some moves. They will be in the playoffs.
Looking back at last year the Canadiens missed the playoffs and had more points than Colorado in the West that made the playoffs. This could be the Leafs next year.
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If you look at the standings from last season below you will see how it’s bound to juggle out. This leaves the Maple Leafs vulnerable to not making the playoffs.
The Atlantic Division
The Metropolitan Division
The Eastern Conference
By taking a look at how everything could juggle out next year. The Maple Leafs Playoff Hopes could be in jeopardy.
It really is hard to fathom that the Leafs could be out of the playoffs and it’s only July. This is something every Maple Leafs Fan will be dreading.
Let’s hope that the Leafs fans don’t start planning the playoff route too soon this year. If they struggle out the gate and can’t get a Mitch Marner deal they could be out of the playoffs by Halloween.